Latest News

Discover More

  • Follow us
  • Follow Us on LinkedIn
  • Follow Us on YouTube

Latest News

Helpful & Un-Helpful Habits

Mon, 28 Jan 2013
An important part of mindfulness is stopping. Stopping allows our physiology to calm and muscular tension to release. Stopping gives our mind opportunity to get off the well-worn tracks of anxiety, worry and doubt. Insteas we can give our attention to appreciating the colour of the sky as the sun sets, the taste of food, the sound of music.

These experiences are not only more real than the worry about something that happened in the past or might happen in the future, they also help us to relax, feel refreshed and concentrate more easily.

As I write this I am on King Island, between Tasmania and mainland Australia. The house I am staying in is on 250 ha, with views across forest and farmland to the sea. There is not another house in sight.  It's very relaxing. And yet, for no particular reason, there are times I feel anxious.

So what's this about? It involves habits. Habits are what we get into after doing something repetitively. Habits can be really helpful - like the habit of eating well or the habit of exercising. Other habits can be unhelpful - like the habit of watching hours of TV every night or the habit of sitting slumped over a computer. 

Having stripped away so much of my usual busy life for the past few days I am left noticing my habit for anxiety.

The technique I am playing with is to keep reminding myself to move my awareness out of the anxiety. For example, I keep awareness in my body as I move or sit, I give my attention to the beauty of my surroundings, and I sometimes use words I say silently to myself as I breathe in and out. For example, the word 'calm' on the in-breath and 'release' on the out-breath; or 'body' on the in-breath and 'ease' on the out-breath. It's a matter of creating a habit, giving the mind something to spend time  instead of anxiety. And I find it makes a difference. If you at times find yourself in an emotion you don't find helpful, you might like to try this. You can create your own words - a word for the in-breath and a word for the out-breath. Play with it and see what works for you.

It's about creating a new habit.